A few years ago, while looking through old subdivision files, I came across a proposed rural subdivision that incorporated conservation subdivision design principles. This plat was in the mid-seventies. The plat covered about 300 acres of varied land features including woods, wetlands, streams, and steep ravines. There was also a map that identified ideal locations for community gardens, which seemed to incorporate aspects of the permaculture idea. The map went so far as to identify what would best grow in these areas. I think that there were about 30 small home-sites that would have been located on their own lots with the rest of the land being owned communally.
The strange thing about this proposal was that it was days away from getting final approval and at the least minute it was pulled with no reason given. It also got some media coverage as a new way of living and while the media did not come out and call it an intentional community or ecovillage—it was really that in concept. The initial covenants were very clear to this effect.
After seeing this plat I wished it were approved as I could see myself living there and my commute to work would be considerably shorter. Instead I settled for a house in the middle of nowhere and while there are upsides to having no neighbors, there is definitely a lack of community of like-minded people. They are there, however they are widely scattered.
While I have never lived in an ecovillage/intentional community, I have visited them. They are not perfect, but nor is any living situation. My wife and I have had many conversations about starting an ecovillage/intentional community in the area we live. I think that there is potential and the way to make is work would be to first gather a group of interested people to just start talking about it. There is also a smattering of communal living arrangements by us—some strong—some failed—some illegal from a zoning perspective. So it is not a new concept in these parts.
So here is the question to Cyburbians. As planners or otherwise, have you had any experience with intentional communities and beyond that are there any Cyburbains that are interested in this kind of thing?